BT to axe 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade

Some of the jobs will be replaced with AI.

May 18th 2023

BT to axe 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade
The BT Group Plc Tower in London, UK, on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. The fiber storm buffeting telecom carriers shouldn't have prevented BT from meeting its earnings and free cash flow targets in results when it reports on Thursday. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The telecoms giant aims to reduce its workforce down from 130,000 to 90,000 (Picture: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

BT will cut up to 55,000 jobs over the next 10 years as the company plans to replace staff with artificial intelligence.

The telecoms giant currently has around 130,000 employees but aims to reduce that number to less than 90,000 to achieve a ‘much smaller workforce’.

Around one fifth of cuts will come from its customer services workforce, with jobs being replaced by AI technology.

Some building jobs will also be slashed as once BT’s full fibre broadband and 5G network is rolled out, it will not need as many staff to maintain the network.

The announcement was made after BT revealed a 12% drop in profits for the year to April.

Chief executive Philip Jansen said: ‘By continuing to build and connect like fury, digitise the way we work and simplify our structure, by the end of the 2020s BT Group will rely on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base.

‘New BT Group will be a leaner business with a brighter future.’

Philip Jansen, chief executive officer of BT Group Plc, gestures while speaking during a news conference in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. BT is making a new push to improve customer service, including the arrival of BT-branded shops for the first time in almost two decades, as Jansen??begins a charm offensive to defend market share. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Philip Jansen, chief executive officer of BT, said he wants to digitise the workforce (Picture: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

He added the firm would be working with its union partners throughout the job cuts and would also rely on natural attrition, when an employee leaves the company but is not replaced.

BT, which is the UK’s largest broadband provider, said between 40,000 and 55,000 jobs will be cut by 2030.

The Communication Workers Union said the cuts were ‘no surprise’.

It said in a statement: ‘The introduction of new technologies across the company along with the completion of the fibre infrastructure build replacing the copper network was always going to result in less labour costs for the company in the coming years.

‘However, we have made it categorically clear to BT that we want to retain as many direct labour jobs as possible and that any reduction should come from sub-contractors in the first instance and natural attrition.’

There will be more cuts through restructuring.

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